Dutjes op de werkvloer: geef daar vooral aan toe als het nodig is Naps at work: don’t fight it, especially if it’s necessary
At large companies such as Google and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, powernaps are now common practice. NUzakelijk spoke with two sleep experts on how and why.
“Taking a nap leads to better performance in the short and long term,” says Gerard Kerkhof, professor emeritus of the psychophysiology of 24-hour rhythms and sleep at the University of Amsterdam.
The effect lasts two to three hours. “Obviously a nap doesn’t compensate sleep deprivation. It’s a short-term boost that people may need,” says Kerkhof.
Kerkhof compares it with research in which the work break is central. “Short work interruptions can maintain performance. The general effect is like a short holiday.”
Reinier de Groot, pulmonologist and somnologist at the Dutch Sleep Institute, agrees that a powernap can have a refreshing effect and increase productivity.
“The situation determines if it actually helps at work. You have to ask yourself whether coming out of a boring meeting or being tired of a certain activity is a valid reason. But a powernap can be refreshing,” adds De Groot.
According to De Groot, people with normal sleep rhythms usually also have no need to sleep. The disadvantage of prolonged and frequent sleep outside your regular hours is that it can disturb your nightly sleep.
The advice is to sleep for five to fifteen minutes, and no longer than twenty minutes. Kerkhof says, “That’s purely to prevent you from falling into a deep sleep. If you really sleep for twenty minutes and are then awakened, you may suffer from sleep inertia, or sleep drunkenness.”
According to Kerkhof, this is less serious that often thought. “After you wake up, you may be slightly irritable during the first fifteen minutes and not fully alert. You may make mistakes; you may say the wrong things; you may even pour your coffee onto the table next to your cup, for example.”
This is because the brain organises itself differently during sleep. Kerkhof: “The brain needs time to switch.”